Rules of the Road:
Stop thinking – don’t overcomplicate it.
Stop making excuses – there will always be an excuse.
Start today – you’re not promised tomorrow.
Commit 100% — that’s what it takes.
Hold yourself accountable – but don’t be afraid to ask for help.
And, just do it – you’re more than capable.
In September 2020 I got into a bad car accident. My car ran over a stray tire (rubber and rim) on the 405. My airbags exploded and my car became airborne, hitting the median, spinning out, and then finally coming to a halt at a 45-degree angle in the middle of the busiest highway in the US. As I sat in the hospital with my body completely beaten up, I had this ‘aha’ moment. Live in the present – not the past, not the future. A moment that only being faced with my mortality could have brought upon me given the road I was on. It made me rethink everything from my personal life, career choice, to my diet and exercise routine. Most relevant, it was the catalyst to me joining the team at PowerPlant. (More to come on that career decision and my excitement to be working with consumer businesses helping the world lead better and healthier lives.)
After the accident, I had a slow, grueling recovery that kept me from physical activity for nine months. For someone like me, who always used workouts as an outlet for dealing with the stresses of life, it was a real blow—not just physically, but mentally. By the end of those nine months, I started to feel a little untethered.
When my body was ready, I decided I didn’t want to just get back into shape. I wanted to get into the best shape of my life. I wanted to invest in myself. I started working with a personal trainer, determined as I was to not just half-ass something but to be fully committed. I realized that for me, allocating a budget that was meaningful and having someone else to help me stay accountable is what was needed to rebuild the habit. Honestly, I also acknowledged that after a long nine months of recovery and being side-lined, I needed that extra push.
I worked out with my trainer two to three times per week, but my regimen also included three more workouts on my own which would typically be my own strength training routine at the gym, or I mixed things up with rowing, hot yoga, or spin. It’s important to note that my work schedule still did not slow down and consisted of long hours most days, but I would carve out time for my workouts (typically in the morning) and put them on my calendar. I also liked the idea of making one of my workouts on a Friday night as I felt it was a healthy way to start a weekend and also meant an uninterrupted workout. My routine also consisted of a 10-minute mental break during the day where I would go for a walk outside with no phone, which I found to be incredibly helpful for my work productivity.
As part of my transformation, I also completely changed my relationship with food. I’ve worked 80-hour+ weeks consistently for the last six years, which means I never made time to pay attention to my diet (or prioritize my overall health). I was doing a lot of takeout or delivery to the office. That makes it hard to be intentional about what you put in your body. I say that as someone who lives a mostly plant-based lifestyle. The biggest diet change I made during my transformation was I began meal prepping. I was very intentional about everything I was consuming. I stuck to my diet pretty religiously, but for the occasional dinner with friends or other interruptions that I planned around, I allowed myself some cushion. P.S. I hope my experience shows that you don’t need to be sucking down animal protein to build lean muscle!
By the end of the four month transformation, I’d dropped ten percent body fat and gained a solid eight pounds of lean body mass. The experience really helped me focus on living a healthier lifestyle that touched all aspects of my professional and personal life.
I was really proud of myself for showing what’s possible when you commit to something 100 percent. I’d encourage anyone thinking about a similar life change: you can do it. It’s always a great time to get started, so don’t overthink things or look for excuses why not to do it. And don’t be afraid to ask for help—you can do great things with the right support — and if you need that extra support or kick send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get working!